Good Fucking Design Advice from Brian Buirge

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GFDA | Brian Buirge 

Brian recalls being drawn toward art from an early age. In today’s interview, he talks about being born and raised in a suburban middle-class family in Pittsburgh. His grandmother was an artist, and Brian can remember making his own comic books as a kid. He also recalls drawing extensively once when he was grounded from other activities. 

Brian’s parents were supportive of his interest in art, and he also received positive feedback from kids and teachers at school for his artistic projects. In high school, when he had the option of taking elective classes as well as core classes, he chose to take all of the art classes that were available to him. 

When it was time for college, Brian knew that he wanted to do something artistic, but also wanted to be sure that he could earn a living. His first thought was to go into art education. While the first university he enrolled in didn’t have an art education program, they did have design classes available, and Brian felt really engaged with the work and classes. Brian eventually ended up starting over at a more rigorous university – Kent State – and received a BFA. He graduated from his undergrad program in the fall of 2008. He received a great job offer in Pittsburgh that later fell through due to the 08 economic crash. He ended up moving back in with his parents, waiting tables, and eventually taking on freelance work before going back to university for a graduate program. It was while teaching that Brian started GDFA as a way to get students interested, then started making and selling products. 

Brian wrote a book that will soon be published, and he talks about the process of writing a book proposal and connecting with an agent. He will also be giving a keynote speech at the Young Architect Conference, and he explains that he’ll be talking about how the business got started and about some of the risks he took and failures he experienced along the way.   

What You’ll Hear on This Episode   

  • Brian’s childhood interest in art 
  • How Brian ended up in design classes 
  • What it was like to look for work after graduating in the fall of 2008 
  • How Brian ended up going to graduate school 
  • How Brian got the idea to start GDFA 
  • Brian’s book 
  • What the book proposal process was like 
  • What Brian will be talking about at the Young Architect’s Conference 
  • The GFDA’s workshop program 
  • Brian’s advice for aspiring architects 
  • A book that changed everything for Brian 
  • Brian’s favorite resource 
  • Brian’s thoughts on GFDA’s messaging 
  • Brian’s favorite timesaving trick 
  • How listeners can connect with Brian 

Top 3 Takeaways from This Episode 

  1. You can do creative work and still build a career that makes money.
  2. Early setbacks don’t need to define the rest of your career.
  3. You can be true to yourself in your messaging.

Brian Buirge’s Advice for Aspiring Architects 

“I guess I’ll say this for anybody who’s creative, really. What I’ve been feeling lately is a sense of humility, and humility is so important to the creative process. So, I guess if I’m doing GFDA, have fucking humility would be the right way to go about it. And to remember that if you’re being creative you’re going to be in those zones where you’re uncomfortable, and that’s the right place to be because in order to come up with something new, creative, innovative, disruptive, apply any of your generic industry terms that are currently in pop culture to this, if you’re doing things that you already know what the outcome is going to be than you’re not really being creative. You’ve gotta go into that space of what you don’t know and find something new, combine something, and then bring it back and bring it to life. The great thing and the scary thing is there is an infinite number of things you don’t know and a very small finite number of things you do know and so the great news is that means creativity will never stop. The challenging part for anybody is to not get involved in your ego and run home to mama and say I know how to solve this problem before you’ve even gotten into that messy area of uncertainty.”   


Favorite Quotes
 

“When he left, the major thing for me that I had to learn was all the finance numbers, accounting things.” –Brian Buirge on what he knows today that he didn’t know back then 

“It’s such a great read and something I think anyone can relate to.”  –Brian Buirge on Peaceful Warrior, the book that changed everything 

“For me personally, I mentioned briefly that I’ve done martial arts for a long time – almost 20 years now – and for me, I could not live without doing that.” –Brian Buirge on the resource he can’t live without”

“There’s the dark side of me, the subversive side, there’s a little bit of that in the GFDA message.” –Brian Buirge on the GFDA message 

“Working from home.” – Brian Buirge on his best timesaving trick 

Resources Mentioned in the Show 

Brian Buirge
GFDA
Brian@GFDA.co
Kent State 

  

About

Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect, and the creator of Young Architect, an online platform and community dedicated to helping the next generation of Architects become the most successful generation of Architects. 
Connect: Linkedin / Facebook / Instagram

Hi there!

I’m Michael Riscica, the guy behind Young Architect. I write to help Architecture Students, ARE Candidates and Young Architecture Professionals be more successful at school, work and life!

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